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Mid-price binoculars recommendation (1 Viewer)

SzimiStyle

The Shorebird Addict
I have used different binoculars of the top brands in the past but for a variety of reasons I need to 'down'grade(?) a bit. I have been looking for high-performing alternatives on a much lower price tag than the Zeiss Victory SF, Leicas or the Swarovision (always the 10x models).

I'm doing my very confusing research but wonder what you would think about it and advise me to look at. Nikon HG? Non-high end Zeisses, Leicas or Swarovskis? Celestron? KOWA Genesis? Budget is between £600-1,200.

I'd appreciate any constructive feedback.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I think a budget of £600-1,200 allows you to aim really high. Since you live in the UK (and not far away from big cities) my advice would be to go second hand (provided you can try the devices). The top-end of the previous generation (FL, UV-HD, etc.) is usually within your budget, and can provide incredible performance.
A 10x42 FL, for example, is an incredible performer, and is usually seen within your budget.
I don't use 10x that much, but in the 7x-8x format, I'd seriously consider choosing a used FL over a new HG (although the 10x42 HG is so small and light that it becomes so desirable).
 

SzimiStyle

The Shorebird Addict
Thanks. I used to use the Victory HT and I really liked it but is very rare to get one. I'm not a great fan of used stuff.

I don't worry much about the FOV but more like the clarity, lack of or little chromatic aberration, and good light gathering capabilities. It seems a lot for the price range but there might be some models out there.

My winning model at the moment is the Nikon HG 10x42 but I'm interested in what others say. The budget is £600-1,000.
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
I bought the HT 10x42 used here in the States. They ended up having some slop in the focuser, but Zeiss fixed them free of charge (though it took a while, as they went back to Germany -- the previous owner had installed a 3rd party tripod mount that messed it up, but Zeiss fixed it anyway. Bravo.). I really like them.

I have the Kowa Genesis 8x33 and they are excellent. I like them more than the Zeiss Conquest due to ergonomics, overall feel, and flare/ghost control. In the Genesis line, Kowa has a 10.5x44 that I have heard good things about, but have not used it. It would likely be in your budget range new.

How is Nikon or Kowa service in the UK? Might be something to consider too. I'd assume the European brands have good service there.

Best of luck,
Marc
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Szimi,

If it is within your budget, for your primary purpose of observing shorebirds, I recommend the Kowa Genesis 10.5x44. I take mine to the beach 20 to 30 times a year along with other bins to compare and use for different purposes. The 10.5 is very close in performance to the Leica UV HD+ 10x50 and it controls harsh light on the beach even better than the Nikon EDG. The only downside of the Genesis 10.5 is the eye relief is not very good. I sometimes use very close fitting sunglasses and get full FoV with many bins but not with the 10.5. I would not recommend it if you have to use glasses unless you are willing to give up at least 10% of the FoV or more depending on your glasses and facial anatomy.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

normjackson

Well-known member
Might glean something of use from Stephan Groehn's comparative review from early last decade.
 

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dozercsx

Active member
As an El Cheapo Yank (translation: frugal American ;-) ) I come at this from the other end - I look only at super value in seriously cheap binoculars; for me the only categories are <$100, <$150 and <$200, new and used. In today's Golden Age of binocular trickle down technology, you can get a whale of a deal for U.S. $200 today, with tech that was only available at the super high end just a few years ago.

Case in point: My current research project is the Celestron Nature DX ED 8x42 (although they also make a 10x42) which is fully-multi coated, phase corrected AND includes 42mm ED glass in the objectives - for $169 on Amazon today! I believe that is the lowest priced, new ED binoculars available anywhere in that size. As Zach Brown says, "everything I need and nothin' that I don't".

As you are coming from the world of High End of binoculars, expect a drop-off in feel and peripheral details - but for the most bang-for-the-buck where it counts, this deserves serious consideration. And think - for 600 British Pounds (your minimum target budget, above), you could buy three of these - one to use, with two more as backups! Plus change on your bill for lunch.

Just my two cents - enjoy!

p.s. I just checked the latest U.S. Amazon price for the 10x42 version of this ED glass - $150! Wow.
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
As an El Cheapo Yank (translation: frugal American ;-) ) I come at this from the other end - I look only at super value in seriously cheap binoculars; for me the only categories are <$100, <$150 and <$200, new and used. In today's Golden Age of binocular trickle down technology, you can get a whale of a deal for U.S. $200 today, with tech that was only available at the super high end just a few years ago.

.

Wow.... well, to each their own. Personally I prefer to buy quality so I don't have to deal with breaking bins, poor focus wheels (loose or too stiff or too much play in them), bridges that close/open on their own, things falling off, armor that gets air gaps in it, eye pieces that don't stay out, poor light, poor image quality (unless you don't care or don't know what to look for)....or to continually 'play' the lifetime guarantee game.

I am not in favor of always buying Alpha as I have some alpha and some quality mid-priced.

Birding, like 'all hobbies' ....has an intangible to it that goes beyond just a bird in the glass. It is about feeling good about birding, holding a solid well made pair of bins, feeling the ergonomics encase my hands....viewing pleasure, knowing that what I 'saved' up for; is worth it, ..... So for me, it is the optics + the intangibles and all told, they don't add up to 'under $200'...But as I stated, each their own.
 
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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I have tried several of the mid-range 10x42 binoculars, and here are the ones I recommend, and I've owned
each one for several years. The Nikon Monarch HG and the Zeiss Conquest HD, they rise to the top in the
category.
The advantages of the Nikon HG are a very nice and wide field of view, light weight, lightest in the class, and it
handles very well. The Zeiss Conquest is well made, and has a very bright view.

Jerry
 
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